Why do you not encrypt? Because it is not fun, right? I’ll show you how much fun it can be 🙂

Encryption often is not fun at first sight. Either you go for an open source tool, but the user experience suffers by non-intuitive interfaces. Or you choose a proprietary tool, which does ship a neat interface, but you can never be sure whether you also bought a backdoor.

In addition, you want a tool that is commonly adopted such that the friend receiving your encrypted data does not need to install a tool just to decrypt your data.

Also, if you want to sync your encrypted data somewhere, a large Truecrypt/Veracrypt container is not justified to be synchronized after just one of its containing files has been changed.

Give GPG a chance and enjoy it

I think that encryption can be lots of fun as long as you use the appropriate tools. One of my most loved ones is GNU Privacy Guard (GPG), which meets the challenges stated above quite well: It is open source, actively developed since 1997 and thus very stable, installed on many Linux distributions by default, and encrypts file by file, which results in high sync performance. Also, it is super easy to use once it is properly set-up.

This is an awesome article that covers everything from setup to usage of GPG. If you have been convinced by the end of this post that GPG is something you want to get your hands on, follow this article. In the following, I will only show how easy it is to use GPG after its one-time setup.

Option 1: Symmetric encryption (simple)

You encrypt with

gpg -c file_name

and provide a password. The receiver decrypts with

gpg file_name

and is asked to type the same password. That’s all.

Option 2: Asymmetric encryption (more secure)

You encrypt by providing your and the receiver’s email address:

gpg -r you@you.com -r recipient@recipient.com --encrypt file_name

The receiver decrypts by just typing

gpg file_name


You can also encrypt multiple files in (sub)folders with

gpg -r you@you.com -r recipient@recipient.com --encrypt-files $(find -type f)

GUIs decrypt automatically!

Using available graphical user interfaces (GUIs), a double click on the encrypted file will automatically decrypt it! Of course, this holds only for option 2 (asymmetric). If the file has been encrypted with a password, after the double click you will be prompted to provide the password. Not much more difficult either…

For instance, a GUI are available in Ubuntu. You will be prompted to install missing packages after you clicked on an encrypted file at the first time. Otherwise, install seahorse-daemon, seahorse-nautilus and libcryptui0a manually. For Mac install GPG tools, which include everything you need out-of-the box.

It is too easy to not to get started. Happy crypto party!

This article has also been published on my private blog.

Categories: Security

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